The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Centre to grant protection to a Karnataka woman who alleged that she has been married off without her consent. The woman, who is presently in Delhi and being assisted by Delhi Commission for Women, has also sought striking down of certain provisions of the Hindu Marriage Act on the grounds that the consent of the bride or the groom has not been made mandatory in the law.
A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud said that it would treat this petition as a habeas corpus plea and would not deal with the constitutionality of certain provisions of the Act as sought by senior advocate Indira Jaising, who was representing the aggrieved woman. The bench observed that the Section 12 C of the Act provides for annulment of the marriage if there is forced or fraudulent consent.
The court agreed with the contention that the identity of the woman and her family members, who had forced her into the marriage, were not revealed. It directed the Superintendent of the Police concerned to serve notice on the respondents and fixed the matter for further hearing on May 5. During the hearing, Jaising said that the woman has been forced into marriage and seeks protection.